During May and June I listened to the live webcasts of most of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition. I am not sure what to think about competitions in general — perhaps they are a necessary evil — but it was a good opportunity to hear wonderful young musicians and some remarkable performances. Early on, I was captivated by the music of 19 year-old Haochen Zhang of China, who eventually shared the gold medal. Here is his performance of the Beethoven Sonata in A flat, Op. 110:
In the semi-finals, Zhang programmed the complete Chopin Preludes, Op. 28. Here is the “Raindrop” Prelude:
and Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit from the finals:
Finally, so that you can see him ‘in action’ — although the sound is not as good — here is a video from his performance of Lizst’s Spanish Rhapsody:
For video and good sound both, it is probably better to use the Silverlight streaming webcast from the Van Cliburn site, which also gives access to the complete archives.
Zhang is currently touring the U.S., and is scheduled to perform at the University of Vermont on March 5.